Masks off.

And Ho! Hard-hearted poets, gather round! Hear my declaration:

The era of mandatory masks has ended, and the age of full-faced public transit flirtation is upon us again!

Gather ye round, fair (but well aged) maids and eager (salt-and-pepper-haired) lads. There’s matchmaking to do!

Gather all your hopes, all the honed shards of your broken hearts, toss them into my bag, we‘re going on a journey. We must be on our way! Come now, stay close. We have to hurry!

Blessed be this godforsaken evening, for I‘ve somewhere to be and a good mood hanging daintily on my shoulders. I’ve an urgent appointment with a half-dry oil painting. I‘ve been practicing my posture all day, you could balance a book on my head. It would be a romance novel, naturally.

I look lovely. I look two centimeters taller than you remembered me. I own this tram, Like I‘ve been practicing holding on to the subway pole my entire life. Like I went to urban transport finishing school. In Switzerland.

I‘ve got a light winter jacket on, I am pretending it’s spring. Sweet amorous poets, pretend along with me. Toss off your coats.

Fuck it: Take off your clothes.

I‘ve got nothing but smiles for any eye-pleasing stranger on the tram willing to entertain the idea of me being their plans for the evening.

But alas, handsome stranger. This is my stop.

I get off here.

Regardless, thanks for the wink.

Thanks for the spring in my step on the eve of a proper change of season.

It’s been three years and god,

It feels wonderful to smile again. And more so, to be seen.

A note from the author:

Please wear your masks whenever you want to and for however long you please. I continue to carry mine and wear it when the tram is crowded. The rule changed a week ago, but this is my first time on public transit without a mask since February of 2020. The laws in Vienna have changed, the pandemic is far from over. And to misquote the lines: we have promises to keep, and immunocompromised people we love, and miles to go before we sleep next to them.

Give me validation.

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